Everyone seems to be buzzing about the leaked audio of a discussion between Donald Sterling, the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers and his girlfriend V. Stiviano. The audio captures his frustration with his girlfriend “broadcasting” and associating with black people. This heated argument all started when V. Stiviano took a picture of her with Magic Johnson and shared it on her Instagram.
For those that have not heard the full audio recording, I strongly encourage to listen.
I have listened to this audio recording several times and want to share my thoughts. Sterling’s message is very clear. He doesn’t want his lady friend publicly associating with black people. There are many people that have their opinions towards different races. However the term “racist” gets thrown out often. Do I think Sterling is a racist? It is very tough to tell from the recording. What I can tell you based on what I heard is that he is definitely prejudice towards different ethnic groups. So what is the difference between a “racist” and someone who is “prejudice”? The difference is simple. If you feel that one race is superior to others then you are a racist. Someone that is labeled as prejudice is seen as having a negative opinion about a group of people or ethnicity. If you listen carefully, Sterling never really expresses his belief that white people are superior to other races. However, V. Stiviano tries to coax Sterling into actually saying it. Despite numerous attempts from Stiviano, he doesn’t falter from his opinion and the important role “society” plays on how black people are viewed in this country. Given Sterling’s position of power, as the owner, other people may argue that his remarks make him racist. In my honest opinion, I think Sterling is perpetuating an illness that continues to spread amongst this world and that is the concept of “ignorance”.
Even though Sterling is in hot water, I cannot ignore the fact that Stiviano is willing to disregard her Mexican & African American heritage for the love of this man. If you listen closely, she talks about “Changing her skin”, “Removing all black people from her Instagram” and so on. I am sorry but the money train is still not enough for me to want to change who I am. I feel that Stiviano’s willingness to give up her ancestry adds fuel to this proverbial fire!
It will be very interesting to see how Sterling is punished under the new Commissioner, Adam Silver. The team itself has staged a few protests against the Clippers owner by removing their warmup jackets at center court and turning their warmup shirts inside out. Rumors continue to circulate that the Clippers may not show up to the next game or that the NBA will allow every member of the team to become free agents next season. A dozen or so corporate sponsors have already terminated or suspended their agreement with the Clippers. Some of the biggest names being Mercedes Benz, Kia, Virgin, Carmax, and more. If I was in Adam Silver’s shoes, I would find a way to pressure him into selling the team and slap him with the heftiest fine known to mankind. However, I know how this is going to play out. The NBA will suspend him and hit him with a slap on a wrist fine that I am sure is the equivalent to pocket change for Sterling. The NBA cannot force anyone into selling and will hide behind this rule. However, I think the NBA would miss out on a great opportunity to salvage the damage caused by Sterling by bringing in new ownership in the form of ex-Laker great, Magic Johnson. I foresee the Player’s Association pushing the envelope here for the benefit of the current Clippers roster. I have been wrong before and will be very intrigued by the league’s decision when announced at a press conference today at 2 pm eastern.
As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on this matter. Feel free to comment or tweet me at @manbehindclouds!